Amazon patent outlines an anonymous mobile payment system

By on April 17, 2013, 2:30 PM

Amazon may be preparing to launch an anonymous mobile payment system as evident by a patent application published yesterday by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Originally filed for in April 2009, the service would allow people to purchase items from Amazon without having to reveal their name, phone number, e-mail address and other personally-identifiable information.

The online retailer isn’t the first to come up with this type of service although they appear poised to take it a bit further than the competition. That’s because Amazon would implement a special code, known as a temporary identifier, to facilitate a mobile transaction anonymously.

This identifier would be transferred between buyer and seller with Amazon standing in as a middleman. As such, Amazon would be the only party in the transaction with knowledge of both the buyer and the seller. It’s unclear, however, how returns or refunds would be handled.

An anonymous payment system would give shoppers peace of mind knowing that a third party seller wouldn’t have access to personal information. A number of online merchants are guilty of selling personal information like e-mail addresses and telephone numbers – ultimately resulting in unwanted spam.

As with a number of patents, there’s no guarantee that Amazon’s anonymous mobile payment system will ever see the light of day. But the simple fact that Amazon applied for such a patent shows us that they are at least looking into the idea.

User Comments: 3

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psycros psycros said:

Ebay and Amazon both need systems like this desperately. The number of shady companies doing business through those services with almost no oversight is astounding. I think around 60% of lifestyle accessories bought via Ebay and Amazon are counterfeit, and that's just one category. With that many crooks doing business, the chances of having your info sold are pretty high. I know for a fact that I've been spammed twice because of this (I take steps to insure I can trace it back to the culprits).

Win7Dev said:

Your address is the only thing shipping companies should ever see.

Tiberath Tiberath said:

Again, how is something like this even patentable? It's sending encrypted data packages over SSL. That's it.

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